THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-7-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "ENVY"
Good morning! Thanks for joining us this morning in this service of God. The Living Word Program is committed to proclaiming the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps financially to make the Living Word Program possible. The Southside Church of Christ in Ozark, Missouri, has been with our work for some time now. It is great to have them as partners in this effort together to the glory of Christ. We really appreciate this fine congregation for their like-desire to see the gospel of Christ taken to the whole world.
Please take advantage of the opportunity this morning to meet with this family of God. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., these brethren will begin with a Bible study and then at 10:30, they will have a morning worship assembly. On Sunday evening at 6:00, they will again come together for a worship service. This congregation also offers a mid-week service at 7:00 each Wednesday evening. I hope you are able to visit with this family of God very soon.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister, brother Chuck Eakins. Their telephone number is: 417-581-1047.
It's now time to join in our songs of praise as we together sing the first hymn of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "The Lily Of The Valley."
(SONG # 1)
We all have trials and problems in this life from time to time. Have you ever asked the question or wondered, "why me?" I'm sure we all have wondered why things happen to us or why we suffer in this life, but I might ask you, "have you ever considered it might be your fault?
Think for a moment why you are suffering? Is it your fault or God's. What does the Bible say about our suffering?
James tells us to "count it all joy when you fall into various trials," James chapter 1, verse 2. But why on earth would James make such a confusing statement. Read with me verse 12 from the same passage, there it says, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." You see, we are to endure temptation, because those who do will be blessed by God.
But what type of temptations are we talking about here? Peter clarifies this point for us in 1 Peter 4:12-13, there we read, "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." It is clear in this passage that we should rejoice in sufferings that are present because of our faith in Christ Jesus. When we suffer for His cause it will all be worth it.
In the beginning of our comments I asked if you had ever considered if your sufferings are your own fault? I ask this question because the Bible tells us God will give us all we need if we are faithful to Him. It tells us He will help every step of the way if we live according to His Word. In Romans 8:38, Paul said, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." James said, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights," again, chapter 1:17!
The Bible clearly states that if we love God and serve Him, He will care for us and give us all that we need. So when you wonder, why do I not have things, or why do I suffer - Then I would ask the question, "are you really serving God in His Way?"
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins of Today!" Our specific topic today is, "Envy?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with our study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "He Loves Me!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thanks for staying with us this morning, as we now have this opportunity to study from God's word. We appreciate you being with us because as always as we can grow together in God's word, we'll be blessed and be able to know more what He would have us to do. We've been looking at a good series together the things which really are socially accepted in our country and the land that we live and even throughout the world. However, when we look into God's word, we find actually that they are sin. They are things which are actually contrary to what He would have a follower or a child of His to be involved in.
This morning we again want to look at something which affects us in the very same way. I might begin by asking you a few questions such as think of how blessed we are in this country. Isn't it so wonderful how many things that you have. Think of the home that you have, the car that you have, the many possessions that you've been given in this life. But it doesn't matter how much we have or how nice it seems that our possessions are, we always can look around us and we can see those who have more. We can pull up at a stop light and look next to us and see a car that is a little bit nicer than ours or we can drive through neighborhoods where there homes that are a little bit nicer than our homes, maybe a little bit more expensive. They have a little bit more rooms in them, a little bit larger in size and as we think about this sometimes it causes us to lack the contentment that we need as Christians. There's nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves or wanting to improve ourselves in this life, but this morning we want to discuss a problem that we have when we begin to look at what others have and we desire it or we really are jealous because of how they have improved themselves in their lives.
This problem, this sin, is called envy. If we are really to consider what envy is we find that it is a feeling of discontentment or resentment that is aroused by and really in conjunction with our desire to have what others possess. The quality, if you will, to really desire a possession of someone else. Another very familiar thought that we might think of in the Bible that is addressed often with envy that I believe envy really leads to is that concept of being covetous, or really not only desiring or being jealous or seeing what others have and maybe wanting something like it, but covetousness goes that next step of saying, "I'm going to do something to get what that individual has." We might see the definition there as something that causes us to be longing for something or wishful for something again that is anothers. It is owned by someone else. It is theirs.
There are many verses in the Bible that could help us to understand this concept of envy, this idea of being jealous and seeing what others have and really wanting it. We can see so many examples such as the Israelites. Think how many times that they prayed and they many times murmured against God because of what they saw that the other nations around them had, and they were envious that they had kings and that they enjoyed many of the idolatries and the sins that these nations were involved in and they wanted to be like those nations. You might remember that that's probably one of the main reasons there at Mt. Sinai that we find that it is said to us in Exodus that really the Lord made His Ten Commandments of "Thou Shalt Nots." One of those if you might recall is that "thou shalt not covet," there in Exodus 20. And in verse 17 it tells us that thou shalt not covet what. It not only says the neighbor's house, but it also says a neighbor's wife. Now I think that's an interesting thing to think about there because actually in the Bible we find examples of this very thing.
I might ask you to look at the book of Samuel, that is 2 Samuel chapter 11 verses 2 through 4 and we find here the story of David, a man of God, a man who had lived according to the will of God, who had been chosen, hand-picked to become king over the people of God. It's here in this book, that is again 2 Samuel chapter 11, that we have addressed for us a situation that evolves as he is king. If you'll read with me there the first four verses, it kind of sets the scene for us. "It happened in the spring of the year and the time when kings go out to battle that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all of Israel and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabath and David remained in Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house and from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold, so David sent and inquired about the woman and someone said, 'Is it not Bathsheba? She is the daughter of Elam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.' Then David sent a messenger and took her and she came to him and he lay with her for she was cleansed from her impurities and she returned to her house." Here we have the situation of a man, a king, a man in authority who is on his balcony and he sees a woman bathing. He is enticed by her, by his own desires, his own lusts, and he wants her physically. Because of that, we find that he sends for her and actually brings her knowing clearly that her name is Bathsheba and knowing also clearly that she was married to a man named Uriah who was a Hittite, a man who was actually on the battle line serving his country, that is Israel, serving his king David. But then what does David do in return? David takes his wife and sleeps with her. We know how the story continues on. David is involved here with Bathsheba. He actually at one point calls Uriah home and tries to somehow cause him to sleep with her so that he will think that the child she has now had conceived in her is actually David's. Later it goes on, we know that because of the desire, because of the sin, as it comes about, because of that envy, that coveting that he had of another man's wife, we see that he eventually had him put on the front lines. There he was willing, Uriah willing, to go on the front lines to serve his king and was killed there. Killed, the ultimate sin there. Murder. Why? Because here a man, a king, a man who claimed to be of God sinned and did contrary to His will and why? Because of envy. Because of jealousy. He saw what someone else had and went so far as to wanting it and to doing whatever it took to get it. As we see, the covetousness played out in his heart. So yes, it is there, clearly seen by the example given of David.
Another great example would be found in 1 Kings chapter 21, and we could really look at these examples all day because they really show us a clear picture and the sin, the problem that is involved in this concept mainly of envy which also leads to coveting something. But we find here that a man named Nabath had a beautiful vineyard and we find that as it tells us in the text that it was near the palace, near the palace of the king who was Ahab. And what we would like to do at this time again is consider the first four verses to kind of see again the setting that was taking place. "And it came to pass after these things that Naboth, the Jezreelite, had a vineyard which was in Jezreel next to the place of Ahab, king of Samaria. So Ahab spoke to Naboth saying, 'Give me your vineyard that I may have it for my vegetable garden because it is near, next to my house. For it, I will give you a vineyard better than it or if it seems good to you, I will give you what it's worth in money.' But Naboth said to Ahab, 'The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my father's to you.' So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because the word of Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him. He had said, 'I will not give you the inheritance of my father,' and he laid down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. We see here this king was so upset about this situation. What was the situation? A man who had a vineyard next to his home. He wanted that vineyard for himself. He longed for it. It was in a good location. It was a nice vineyard, and he wanted it. He desired it. He envied it. He was jealous of what he had so much so that he went to him and then he offered to buy it which would have been okay. If he had desire and he saw that it was good and he wanted to purchase it, then that would have been okay for him to actually go and do what is right or just in according to buying it, but then he becomes really as we find jealous or really even further down the line, upset, so upset that he quits eating because Naboth here says, 'I can't sell you what has been inherited by my father, by God. God does not allow it.' So he's upset. He pouts. He goes and turns away his face. He will not eat. Eventually, we know that it is his wife that comes in some senses I guess you could say to the rescue. Her name was Jezabel. Jezabel comes in here to the king Ahab and she says, "What's wrong?" And he tells her the whole story and she says, "I will get the vineyard for you." Finally she devises a plot as we might see there in verses 5-6 of the same opening. And the plot is set and then it comes about and actually there is a banquet that is set and then Naboth is invited there. There are people that come in and give accusations against him and then he is put to death. He is stoned because of the false accusations that are set up by the wife, Jezabel. Now after all of this takes place, we see that she comes to him in verse 14 and she knows what has taken place in verse 15 and says, "Here is the vineyard. Naboth is dead. It is yours." In verse 16 it actually says that "Ahab got up and went and took possession of the vineyard." Now look what happened because of someone being jealous or desirous of what another had that they couldn't have. When they found out they couldn't have it, it made them want it even more and to the point again just as David, that we find here that Ahab and Jezabel were guilty of even murder and killing someone.
You see, envy is not just a simple thing. Envy is not just something that should be overlooked. It is a serious sin that many times leads to very dire sins that we can't reverse in life. Being jealous is one thing. It's wrong. It's one thing, but then that jealousy leading us to go on to coveting to the point that we take what we want at any cost, at anyone's expense. We find here again that this is evil. It's contrary to the will of God. Rejoicing in the misfortunes of others or putting others down so that we might acquire something that really is not rightfully ours, but rather is theirs. Because of this, we find that David threw out his ministry, threw out his work for the Lord, set many examples and many times tried to repent. In fact in Psalm 73 in verses 2 and 3, it talks there about how that David said that "He was envious at the arrogance of others when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Here we see again an attitude that he readily expressed. Another time of envy when he saw the great prosperity and arrogance that people had and how that the world was prospering yet they were not followers of God and how that sometimes the people of God on the other hand would suffer. Again, allowing envy to get out of place is wrong. It's contrary to what God would have us to do.
There's a verse also that we want to look at in the New Testament because the New Testament also deals with these principles and helps us to know what God would have us to do in relationship to these things. In Romans chapter 8, you might read with me verse 28 as it tells us here more about what we have from God. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Those who love God, those who are called by Him, all things will work to good. There's no reason to envy or to want what others have. He will give us what we need. He will provide for us. He will show us that which we have need of. Don't you think that's why the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, made this statement: "Let not thy heart envy sinners. Let not your heart envy those things that others have, even though they are not of God, " Proverbs chapter 23 and verse 17.
Even Pilate, as we know Pilate was there mentioned in the book of Mark as Jesus was about to be crucified. Pilate here had the same type of thoughts as he stood there before Him, before Christ in chapter 15. And it says, "For he perceived that for envy they delivered Him up." Notice here, even Pilate understood that the Jews, those who were the scribes and the Pharisees and those who were bringing this man, Jesus, who had no sin up before Pilate. What took place? It says even Pilate understands that they were delivering Him because of envy. They were jealous because the people believed in Him. They responded to Him because of the powers that He had, the miracles that He could perform, because the people were responding as He was the son of God and even themselves, many of them you know understood that He was the son of God. But they understood also that by accepting Him or by the people following Him that it was doing away with what they were with their places as priests or their place under the Old Law as those of Israel. The Levitical priesthood was being set aside so Christ could be that new and that better type priest. So even Pilate could see that in followers of God even though he himself was not a follower. So we see that envy and covetousness is not just outside of God, or inside of God. It's a sin that everyone is many times involved in. It's a sin that many times takes many of us by surprise and causes us to do that which is contrary to God.
James also deals with this. He's a writer that deals with many of these problems that we have in our lives from time to time. But I want you to look there in the book of James and we want to read together from chapter 3 and verse 16 as it says the following, "For where envy and self-seeking exists, confusion and every evil thing are there." Here we have the concept of envious, of being one who is selfish, of being those who are doing that which is contrary to God. And notice here, what does this word do? It says here, "It participates in that which is evil." Every evil thing is really that which comes about from envy. Why? Because envy as we've seen in our illustrations promotes covetousness and when we begin to have that jealousy that conceives in our hearts, that sin, and it really causes us to want so much so that we begin to work towards it. Well then again, we are doing that which is contrary to God. Why not listen to what God says? Why not find verses in the Bible that encourage us to feel with those who feel, joy with joy, and weep with those that weep? I know in the book of Romans 12:15 Paul said, "Rejoice with those that rejoice. Weep with those that weep."
You see, it's the total opposite principle in Christianity of envying or being jealous or being covetous. Let's be those who are not like the brothers of Joseph, who are envious because their father loved him and showed him some partiality and so much so that they eventually took him as a prisoner, sold him into slavery. Let's not allow our envy to become covetousness. Let's not allow our jealousies in what others have around us to cause us to do that which is contrary to God. Rather let's be content with what God has given us, knowing that as we read in the book of Romans 8 that God will provide all good for us. He is truly a good God and He is truly a God that will give us all that we need and for every care that we have in our lives.
(SONG # 3 - "No Tears In Heaven!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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As Christians, may we acknowledge the great sin of envy, so that we may stay away from that which is displeasing to God.